Tracking down clues

The girls and Jake made a beeline for the annex door. Barbara was still carrying the doll protectively under her arm. As Jake pulled the door open, he noticed the doll.

" Are you going to drag that old thing with you?"

Barbara turned red with sudden annoyance.

"That old thing has been in my family for generations. It was my mother's, and now it's mine. it was never supposed to be thrown away!"

Jake threw up his hands in surrender.

"Okay, okay I'm sorry. I didn't know it meant so much to you. I'm not your enemy, I didn't throw it away!"

Somewhat pacified by the apology, Barbara backed down. The truth was that yesterday she would have questioned the wisdom of dragging the old doll around herself.

She had become strangely attached to it, but oddly enough, it had nothing to do with the blood red jewel inside. It reminded her of her mother, but she didn't know why. She had never been allowed to play with it.

Barbara followed Lilian and Jake up the stairs. At some point she would have to tell Lillian where the ruby came from. She was not looking forward to that. Lillian carried her white box, while Barbara carried her doll.

When the three of them reached the rehearsal hall, Jake turned toward Barbara.

"Where is your DVD recorder?"

Barbara headed straight to the stage that was used for rehearsals. She knelt down on the far side, then turned her head up at her two companions.

"You're both sworn to secrecy here! I discovered this space when I was little. I liked to hide in it. When Dad needed a hidden place for the recorder, I put it in here."

The frame work of the stage had a series of four foot oak panels that went all the way across it. She put her left hand down and felt for a small crevice near the bottom, and pushed to the right. The panel slid in behind the panel beside it.

There was a small wooden cabinet in the space. Barbara lifted the lid and revealed the DVD recorder that was inside. She ejected the DVD and handed it to Lillian.

"We'll have to go to the annex to use your DVD player. Hopefully it'll show who took the boxes, or at least a clue as to where they might be now. Mr. Chapman had one in his hands when they found him, but the police have that."

Lillian hung her head a little. She had never really thought of herself as poor, but there had never been money for extras either.

"We don't have a DVD player. Gordon and Anne have a small TV, but no VCR or DVD player. They don't really have a lot of time to watch movies anyway."

Barbara shrugged.

"That's OK. We'll use mine. It's only a twenty minute drive to our place. Dad dropped me off this morning so we'll need to use Gordon's van if he'll lend it to us."

Lillian instantly understood that Barbara hadn't asked to use her car, in case Lillian didn't have one. She appreciated the unexpected small kindness.

"Actually I have a car of my own, but it only seats two."

Lillian glanced at Jake. It was obvious who wouldn't be going with them.

"That's Okay, " He grinned. " I need to finish the job that Mr. Chapman and I were working on this morning. I'll see you girls later. I'd like to help in any way I can."

"Thanks Jake. We'll keep you informed." Lillian smiled.

Jake headed toward the prop room where he had been working.
The girls went out to the old carriage house behind the theatre that now served as a garage.

Lillian walked to her little lime green Smart car and climbed in the driver's seat. Barbara got in beside her.

"This is cute, Lillian. I'll bet it's great on gas."

" It is, and it was within my price range. It beats the little scooter that was my only means of transportation up till now."

Lillian backed out and headed down the street. When they stopped at a red light, A grubby looking guy in a full sized truck yelled at them.

"Get yourself a real car!"

Barbara rolled down the window and glared up at the uncouth idiot.

"Get yourself a real life!" She yelled back.

For the second time today Barbara had gone out of her way to spare Lillian's feelings. She didn't know whether to trust this new version of Barbara yet or not.

The End

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